‘Civil rights action’ could stop Good Sam closing, governor candidate says

Democratic governor candidate Dennis Kucinich suggested Monday legal action could be taken to stop the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital.

Premier Health, a Dayton-based health network, announced in January the hospital in northwest Dayton would be closing down by the end of the year and 1,600 employees at the main campus will be offered positions at other locations within the network.

RELATED: Community leaders ‘shocked’ over hospital closure

The decision has not been without controversy and follows years of economic setbacks in north and west Dayton, from grocery stores leaving to lost property values. Attendees at an NAACP forum on Sunday criticized the decision, voicing concern over whether the closure will disproportionately affect the health and economy of black residents in the Dayton area.

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Premier Health officials have said the network can’t justify operating two hospitals five miles apart in a city with a declining population and almost twice as many hospital beds as it needs. Premier also has pointed out that Miami Valley Hospital, also in the city of Dayton, already serves patients and hires residents from the neighborhoods surrounding Good Sam.

Kucinich has jumped into the issue, attending several rallies protesting the closure and on Sunday said in a statement that he told residents gathered at St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church that a federal civil rights action is being considered by attorneys reviewing the case.

This news outlet reached out to Premier Health for comment.

RELATED: Empty beds, high costs led to Good Sam closing

Kucinich stated he has been consulting with a “major” law firm in Washington, D.C., and the preliminary review suggests the possibility of “a federal civil rights action.”

He stated access to health care “is a right. People have a right to community hospitals that they can call their own.”

Kucinich said previously that lawsuits could be filed in local and federal court arguing Premier is violating the civil rights of the community by closing a hospital that is relied on by a lower-income, largely minority area.

LOCAL: Good Sam closing was not ‘slam dunk:’ 3 things to know about public forum

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